Kirkley, Alec

BSc (Rochester); PhD (Michigan)

Dr. Alec Kirkley is an Assistant Professor jointly appointed in the Institute of Data Science and Department of Urban Planning and Design at HKU. He obtained his PhD in physics at the University of Michigan and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester. His research focuses on the theory of complex networks and the statistical physics of urban systems, with specific interests involving the characterization of structure in networks with metadata, the development of analysis methods and algorithms for statistical inference with network data, the structure and dynamics of human mobility, and the spatial manifestation of socioeconomic inequality. His research involves a balance of mathematical theory, computer simulation, and analysis of empirical data. His overarching goal is to develop physics-inspired mathematical and computational methods to aid in the understanding and modeling of complex networks and urban systems.

Dr. Kirkley is currently accepting applications for Postdocs, PhD students, and Research Assistants along these lines of research. Interested applicants can send a CV and a statement of research interests to

Research Interests

  • Theory of complex networks
    • characterization of structure in networks with metadata
    • analysis and algorithms for statistical inference with network data
  • Statistical physics of urban systems
    • structure and dynamics of human mobility
    • spatial socioeconomic inequality

Selected Publications

  • A. Kirkley, Spatial regionalization based on optimal information compression. Communications Physics (2022).
  • A. Kirkley and M. E. J. Newman, Representative community divisions of networks. Communications Physics (2022).
  • J-G. Young, A. Kirkley*, and M. E. J. Newman, Clustering of heterogeneous populations of networks. Physical Review E (2022).
  • A. Kirkley, G. T. Cantwell, and M. E. J. Newman, Belief propagation for networks with loops. Science Advances (2021).
  • S. Feng and A. Kirkley*, Integrating online and offline data for crisis management: Online geolocalized emotion, policy response, and local mobility during the COVID crisis. Scientific Reports (2021).
  • A. Kirkley, Information theoretic network approach to socioeconomic correlations. Physical Review Research (2020).
  • S. Feng and A. Kirkley*, Mixing patterns in interdisciplinary co-authorship networks at multiple scales. Scientific Reports (2020).
  • A. Kirkley and M. E. J. Newman, Balance in signed networks. Physical Review E (2019).
  • A. Kirkley, H. Barbosa, M. Barthelemy, and G. Ghoshal, From the betweenness centrality in street networks to structural invariants in random planar graphs. Nature Communications (2018).